Last week, the NFL’s 2023 Hall of Fame class was announced. For New York Jets fans, this announcement was met with excitement as it named not one, but two iconic Jets as inductees: cornerback Darrelle Revis and defensive lineman Joe Klecko.
Something about fandom that has always interested me is how ‘lore’ gets built within a franchise. In my favorite example for the Jets, many of us were born well after Joe Namath’s time but many of us still know of his exploits, his successes, and his failures better than we know the story of players we actually watched and got to cheer for.
With this in mind, I thought it would be cool to take a quick walk down memory lane and lay out why these two players are so revered for those who may have been born to late to witness it first-hand. This will be a two-part piece with the first part covering Darrelle Revis and the second part covering Joe Klecko.
Darrelle Revis’ objective career
The New York Jets selected Darrelle Revis out of Pittsburgh with the 14th pick in the 2007 NFL draft. He went on to play 11 seasons in the NFL, 8 of which were with the New York Jets.
From an individual accolades perspective, Revis is as decorated as they come for a cornerback:
- 7x Probowler
- 4x All Pro
Darrelle Revis’ lore
While Revis’ accolades are impressive, the legend of ‘Revis Island’ looms even larger.
First, we have his extended run of dominance that began in 2008 where he was arguably the best defender in the game.
Second, we have his 2009 season. Perhaps the greatest season a cornerback has ever played.
Darrelle Revis was targeted 111 times in the 2009 regular season. These were the results:— PFF (@PFF) July 19, 2018
41 receptions (fewest of any CB with 80+ targets)
425 yards (fewest of any CB with 70+ targets)
6 INT (tied for 3rd most among CBs)
23 PDs (SEVEN more than any other player) pic.twitter.com/BcW15ftKPc
And don’t get it confused, these weren’t trumped up stats. This wasn’t some string of luck where Revis played against some lightweights at wide receiver. Instead it was quite the contrary where Revis was playing against and proceeding to dominate a series of Pro Bowl wideouts seemingly week-in and week-out.
Darrelle Revis is officially a first ballot Hall of Famer.— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) February 10, 2023
Never forget how dominant he was. pic.twitter.com/5S0c9OqwbP
To hit home on how good that 2009 season was, Mayor Michael Bloomburg unofficially re-named Manhattan as “Revis Island” for the Jets’ playoff run. There was even a sign put up in Times Square, which you can see by following this link.
Third, sometimes greatness just jumps off the tape. For those of you that weren’t lucky enough to see him do it live, be sure to find some time to watch the replays. I’m opting to show 2009 because it was the ‘freakiest’ he ever played but Revis did this kind of stuff for what felt like his whole career. There’s also a far lengthier version of what seems like every target he saw in 2009 if you’d really like to be in awe of how good he was at his peak.
Congratulations, Darrelle Revis. We were lucky to have you then and the Hall of Fame is lucky to have you now.